I could of stayed here a bit longer. The kind of place where the pace puts you at ease, and seems to fall naturally to the daily rhythm of life. The town of Girona, Spain seems to have a way of slowing you down, especially after a weekend jaunt in the much more buzzing city of Barcelona.
The slow moving river, cutting through the old and new part of Girona creates a divide, an opportunity to choose whether you wind through the old cobblestone streets, or perhaps explore the newer side of town. Little bridges connect the two, making it seamless to go back and forth. Around each corner there seems to be a small cafe or restaurant rooted in Catalan style cuisine like preserved meats, olives, and of course seafood. With Girona’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, yet in a forested area, there is a balanced blend of both “sea and mountain.”
Time in Girona is centered around the people, and most importantly the food. There’s a few mainstays that can’t be overlooked, and it all starts with breakfast and a cup of coffee at La Fabrica. A brilliant space, tucked on the kitty corner of two streets, this locally owned cafe focuses on roasting beans in house, and serving breakfast dishes with fine ingredients. It’s the place to brush shoulders with locals, as it attracts the cycling group that lives in Girona (p.s. Girona is huge for cycling — you’ll find that out right away). The second mainstay of Girona is of course Rocambolesc Gelato. This spot is done by the famous Roca brothers from El Celler de Can Roca who won the World’s Best Restaurant award in 2013 and has three Michelin stars. Creative toppings and tasty flavors will tug at your inner child, no matter what age.
The final piece of Girona, and I think the most important, is a dinner at Restaurante El Cul del Mon. Favorited by locals, and foreigners alike, this gem of a restaurant tucked off a small road will sweep you off your feet. The interior space is like a scene out of a movie, and the food, well, it will be hard to stop ordering more. Dishes with Catalan and Moroccan influence show its true colors through classic dishes like tuna tartar, half roasted lamb rack with oils, and a classic beef tenderloin from Girona. The wine menu is equally impressive, and be sure to ask the chef for his recommendation — you won’t be disappointed. (During the peak of the season, be sure to reserve ahead of time.)
Girona will always hold a special place in my heart, and the four days there seemed to pass by too quickly to savor each moment. I will be back again soon.